2011 UEFA Champions League – ManU vs. Barsa, May 28, 2011

‘First Half’
The game started out fantastically. Right from the opening bell you see that the players were all pumped up with adrenaline with the way they were moving about the pitch. They were moving very quickly and fast, and challenging every possession.

ManU had more attempts in the first fifteen minutes of the game, but eventually Barsa started to settle down, and started to have the more dangerous attempts around the penalty area.

As a result, it was Pedro (Hernandez) who scored the opening goal in the 27th minute from an excellent pass from Xavi. I almost thought it was offside or something, because there was no reaction from the Wembley crowd, for obvious reasons.

It didn’t take long for ManU to equalize, though, when Wayne Rooney scored the equalizer seven minutes later, in the 34th minute from a good pass from what looked like Ryan Giggs.

‘Second Half’
As the game wore on, though, it was becoming obvious that Barsa was the better team, as they dominated the attempts again in and around the penalty area. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before they score again.

And this time, it was Lionel Messi who scored Barsa’s second goal in the 56th minute, with that familiar move of his where he would dribble around a couple of defenders, and slot in a rocket like goal.

ManU sort of started getting a bit desperate and physical on defense after that goal, as I saw them being given three yellow cards due to rough plays from then on.

Barsa started pulling away when David Villa scored the team’s third goal on the 69th minute. After that, I wasn’t optimistic anymore of ManU’s chances of coming back in the game, not with the way Barsa was dominating the ball possession.

‘Game Observations’
I’m a big fan of Lionel Messi, so I’m supposed to root for Barsa, but I can’t help but root also for ManU’s Park Si Jung everytime he touched the ball since he is about the only Asian out there on the field. And I guess that affiliation is about as close as we can get to a UEFA Champions League game right now.

It also shows how far South Korea is ahead of us, what with a player of theirs playing in one of the best clubs in the world. He started out quite well in the game, challenging possessions in the middle, but like the rest of ManU, they sort of petered out as the game progressed.

Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) wasn’t much of a factor in the game for ManU, he still needs to improve his positioning and composure in big games like this as he was called for offside at least two times in the match, wasting those opportunities.

Barsa not only had great players, they also played with a great teamwork. On offense, they spaced out well, and seemed to know most of the time where their teammates are. And not only that, they also seem to know quickly which of those players are open, enabling them to get quite a lot of shots at the goal.

David Villa’s shot was fantastic, a curling shot from the middle that just missed the left post as it curled into the net. I initially thought it hit the outside of the net, until they started celebrating.

A great game overall, one of the best I have seen. ManU fans are clearly disappointed, but a lot of brilliance, a lot of intensity on both sides. Just too bad that one club was clearly better than the other.

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